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Fixing Tires In The Middle of Nowhere - Tubeless vs. Tubes

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Fixing Tires In The Middle of Nowhere - Tubeless vs. Tubes

Old 07-23-20, 09:40 PM
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mikecart1
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Fixing Tires In The Middle of Nowhere - Tubeless vs. Tubes

So I've been biking off and on since I was little and never ever had a flat tire (never had a flat on my motorcycle either). I recently got a 2021 Trek Checkpoint ALR4. You can see it in my first thread on this site. Anyways, finally had a great day to bike: 95F with 100F+ heat index... About 9 miles into my ride (all of it on sidewalks, paved bike paths, and streets), my rear goes flat. I noticed how slower my bike was going uphilll when I was almost 4 miles away from home!

Well I have no idea how to fix these tires - Bontrager GR1 Comp. I think they are tubeless. Did a lot of research and watched a lot of videos. I still don't see how it is reasonable to carry tire pumps, repair kits, tools, patches, super glue, and who knows what else when you are biking. I don't even have bottled water cages on the bike. I carry a backpack that I used for 100k ultra marathons. It had 2 water bottles in it. I ended up sweating about 3 lbs off (possibly the little fat I had left too). People walking by looked at me like I was death LOL.

Question: isn't tubeless supposed to be better? And regardless, how hard it is to repair a flat tire in the middle of nowhere when it's 100F+ outside?



Flat Tire After Just 50 miles

Last edited by mikecart1; 07-23-20 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 07-23-20, 10:28 PM
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If you unroll the tire a bit, you can tell if they're tubeless if there's a separate tube inside. They may just be tubeless ready wheels/tires but I would imagine a puncture that bad to have left white goo/sealant everywhere. Maybe your bike was just not set up particularly well?

Tubeless apparently prevents minor punctures but it's hard to say what happened if all you know is that it was spontaneously flat and that it was hot out. I think there are plugs you can get to patch up punctures that the sealant can't seal for tubeless tires but I also think that people will sometimes carry a spare inner tube for their tubeless tires in case they need to get rolling again in a pinch.

I would imagine changing a tube gets easier with practice. I haven't had to do it out on the road yet but swapping tires/tubes isn't that hard. I think flats just comes with the territory and unless you have a very supportive riding friend or a team car, you're just gonna have to carry a kit if you're going out for a long ride without any bike shops around. If you're really concerned about them, you could get tougher tires, self-sealing tubes, or puncture-resistant tires but I think the trade off is always weight and rolling resistance.
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Old 07-24-20, 05:45 AM
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Lots of tradeoffs between tubeless and tubed tires. Use the search function to get more opinions than you can shake a stick at. I don't think one can say that tubeless vs. tubes is "better" each has some good and bad points. Since you rarely get flats I would lean away from tubeless but there is no right/wrong answer, despite what you will read online.

As above, if you stick a tire lever under the bead and pop out the tire, if there is no tube inside it's tubeless, if there is an inner tube it's not.
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Old 07-24-20, 07:08 AM
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Tubed or tubeless, it's not a bad idea to have a repair kit on-hand unless you're willing to walk/call for a ride whenever you flat. All-in, your kit should be able to fit in a jersey pocket - it's not as cumbersome as you seem to think.

I doubt that your bike came set up tubeless - it's pretty uncommon (though not completely unheard of) - you would have seen sealant spraying out of the puncture, at the very least.

As far as tubed vs tubeless - personal call. You might want to continue to ride with tubes for a bit and get a feel for your flat frequency. If you regularly find yourself on the side of the road addressing <1/4" punctures, then tubeless might be the right answer.
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Old 07-24-20, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by mattscq View Post
If you unroll the tire a bit, you can tell if they're tubeless if there's a separate tube inside. They may just be tubeless ready wheels/tires but I would imagine a puncture that bad to have left white goo/sealant everywhere. Maybe your bike was just not set up particularly well?

Tubeless apparently prevents minor punctures but it's hard to say what happened if all you know is that it was spontaneously flat and that it was hot out. I think there are plugs you can get to patch up punctures that the sealant can't seal for tubeless tires but I also think that people will sometimes carry a spare inner tube for their tubeless tires in case they need to get rolling again in a pinch.

I would imagine changing a tube gets easier with practice. I haven't had to do it out on the road yet but swapping tires/tubes isn't that hard. I think flats just comes with the territory and unless you have a very supportive riding friend or a team car, you're just gonna have to carry a kit if you're going out for a long ride without any bike shops around. If you're really concerned about them, you could get tougher tires, self-sealing tubes, or puncture-resistant tires but I think the trade off is always weight and rolling resistance.
Yeah can't tell if they are tubeless or not. The specs for the ALR4 are confusing to me. It's listed as tubeless ready, but that doesn't mean they are tubeless now.

Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Lots of tradeoffs between tubeless and tubed tires. Use the search function to get more opinions than you can shake a stick at. I don't think one can say that tubeless vs. tubes is "better" each has some good and bad points. Since you rarely get flats I would lean away from tubeless but there is no right/wrong answer, despite what you will read online.

As above, if you stick a tire lever under the bead and pop out the tire, if there is no tube inside it's tubeless, if there is an inner tube it's not.
It just sucks that I get a flat on a pretty expensive gravel bike while riding on 99% sidewalks, bike paths, and streets.

Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Tubed or tubeless, it's not a bad idea to have a repair kit on-hand unless you're willing to walk/call for a ride whenever you flat. All-in, your kit should be able to fit in a jersey pocket - it's not as cumbersome as you seem to think.

I doubt that your bike came set up tubeless - it's pretty uncommon (though not completely unheard of) - you would have seen sealant spraying out of the puncture, at the very least.

As far as tubed vs tubeless - personal call. You might want to continue to ride with tubes for a bit and get a feel for your flat frequency. If you regularly find yourself on the side of the road addressing <1/4" punctures, then tubeless might be the right answer.
I will see. It's confusing. I didn't see any sealant, but when I pushed the tire in, I also didn't see a tube. I will see what the bike shop says. It better not be another $100 LOL!
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Old 07-24-20, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by mikecart1 View Post
Yeah can't tell if they are tubeless or not. The specs for the ALR4 are confusing to me. It's listed as tubeless ready, but that doesn't mean they are tubeless now.


It just sucks that I get a flat on a pretty expensive gravel bike while riding on 99% sidewalks, bike paths, and streets.


I will see. It's confusing. I didn't see any sealant, but when I pushed the tire in, I also didn't see a tube. I will see what the bike shop says. It better not be another $100 LOL!
I see now that you've got a Trek. My Trek, with tubeless ready wheels and tubeless-ready tires, did not come set up tubeless. I would be shocked if yours was.

As far as flats on an expensive bike - you shouldn't expect that a more expensive bike is going to get you better flat protection. You've noted that you've ridden much of your life, but this is undoubtedly a different kind of riding. You've probably been riding tires that aren't exactly optimized for performance, to put it kindly. Thinner, more supple casings are going to be more prone to flats than the heavy, 1/4" thick casings on crappy tires, all other things equal.

If you insist on having the shop look at it for you, ask to watch along. This is basic stuff that you should know how to do. Buy a tire lever, a couple spare tubes, a patch kit and a mini-pump while you're there.
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Old 07-24-20, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I see now that you've got a Trek. My Trek, with tubeless ready wheels and tubeless-ready tires, did not come set up tubeless. I would be shocked if yours was.

As far as flats on an expensive bike - you shouldn't expect that a more expensive bike is going to get you better flat protection. You've noted that you've ridden much of your life, but this is undoubtedly a different kind of riding. You've probably been riding tires that aren't exactly optimized for performance, to put it kindly. Thinner, more supple casings are going to be more prone to flats than the heavy, 1/4" thick casings on crappy tires, all other things equal.

If you insist on having the shop look at it for you, ask to watch along. This is basic stuff that you should know how to do. Buy a tire lever, a couple spare tubes, a patch kit and a mini-pump while you're there.
Yeah I'm going at lunch. Hopefully they aren't too busy. You might be right. I looked at the tire itself last night and saw no puncture. I also don't remember riding over anything sharp. I did find some amazing way to ride directly over a pebble though about 5 minutes before I noticed the flat. If I find out the tube popped today because of that, I'm going to be pissed LOL. It was when I was out on the road in the bike lane and this one single pebble forces me to walk 3+ miles in 100F+ heat index? Mannnnnn!!!!
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Old 07-24-20, 08:19 AM
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I ride tubeless & carry a spare tube (on long rides). If I get a flat, I install the tube & continue riding. The only thing that needs to be removed going from TL to tubed setup is the valve.

If you want to know if your setup is TL, check inside to see if there's a tube or not... Judging from your picture, it seems to clean to be tubeless UNLESS your shop would have forgotten to put sealant in there, which would be the logical explanation on why you got a flat tire if there's no puncture or traces of dried sealant… If that's the case, you need a new LBS!

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Old 07-24-20, 08:27 AM
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The Bontrager GR1 is non-tubeless wire bead clincher that sells for about 30 bucks a pop. The flat protection in it is next to non-existent, very much like the OEM tires that come on any number of bikes. Many Specialized road bikes still come with Espoir Sports, a tire with flat protection of such a level that a stiff breeze from the right angle will flat them. My Cervelo came on Mavic Yksion Comps, which seemed to attract flats like magnets.

OP, either buy yourself some heavy duty tubes, and learn how to fix a roadside flat, or buy some tougher tires.
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Old 07-24-20, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
The Bontrager GR1 is non-tubeless wire bead clincher that sells for about 30 bucks a pop. The flat protection in it is next to non-existent, very much like the OEM tires that come on any number of bikes. Many Specialized road bikes still come with Espoir Sports, a tire with flat protection of such a level that a stiff breeze from the right angle will flat them. My Cervelo came on Mavic Yksion Comps, which seemed to attract flats like magnets.

OP, either buy yourself some heavy duty tubes, and learn how to fix a roadside flat, or buy some tougher tires.
It looks like it's bead-locked - I'm surprised that an inexpensive, non-tubeless tire would do that, but confirming online, you're right. Side note, my Trek came with G-One Allrounds, which are great tubeless gravel tires. Looks like they cheaped-out.
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Old 07-24-20, 08:36 AM
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Sounds like it was set up tubeless without sealant. In other words, all you have is a tire and any minor puncture will flat it.
I know it’s a buzzkill, but flats happen and this will be a good learning experience. Glad it happened close to home and not far out.

I echo what the others say, tubes vs tubeless is a personal choice. Just search some YouTube videos for info, not to mention flat repair instructions.
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Old 07-24-20, 08:37 AM
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The locked beads would to me at least hint that the wheels are themselves tubeless-ready.

edit: checked the Trek site, and yes, the OEM wheels are tubeless-ready.
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Old 07-24-20, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by eduskator View Post
I ride tubeless & carry a spare tube (on long rides). If I get a flat, I install the tube & continue riding. The only thing that needs to be removed going from TL to tubed setup is the valve.

If you want to know if your setup is TL, check inside to see if there's a tube or not... Judging from your picture, it seems to clean to be tubeless UNLESS your shop would have forgotten to put sealant in there, which would be the logical explanation on why you got a flat tire if there's no puncture or traces of dried sealant… If that's the case, you need a new LBS!
I gotta do this once myself at home. If I want to go ride on trails for 20-30 miles away from home, I can't be having this happen again with some type of backup plan. Luckily yesterday it was a nice 100F and all I got was sun-burned and dehydrated LOL! I am kind of new to the whole modern 'expensive' bike lifestyle. I had a Giant mountain bike in college and I rode that thing over 4 years on grass, gravel, streets, curbs, rocks, etc. and never had a flat. It will be interesting to see if there is a tube in there. If not, then why is it bone dry on the inside with no sealant.

Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
The Bontrager GR1 is non-tubeless wire bead clincher that sells for about 30 bucks a pop. The flat protection in it is next to non-existent, very much like the OEM tires that come on any number of bikes. Many Specialized road bikes still come with Espoir Sports, a tire with flat protection of such a level that a stiff breeze from the right angle will flat them. My Cervelo came on Mavic Yksion Comps, which seemed to attract flats like magnets.

OP, either buy yourself some heavy duty tubes, and learn how to fix a roadside flat, or buy some tougher tires.
Might try all 3 LOL! Sad that they advertise the GR1 as the best thing on Trek's website. Watched some YouTube videos of others with Checkpoints and they all replace the tires before riding. I must be last to know LOL.

Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
It looks like it's bead-locked - I'm surprised that an inexpensive, non-tubeless tire would do that, but confirming online, you're right. Side note, my Trek came with G-One Allrounds, which are great tubeless gravel tires. Looks like they cheaped-out.
Looks like it. I got a $1700 bike on POS tires LOL!

Originally Posted by walnutz View Post
Sounds like it was set up tubeless without sealant. In other words, all you have is a tire and any minor puncture will flat it.
I know it’s a buzzkill, but flats happen and this will be a good learning experience. Glad it happened close to home and not far out.

I echo what the others say, tubes vs tubeless is a personal choice. Just search some YouTube videos for info, not to mention flat repair instructions.
Haha close to home. I guess I didn't die. So it was close enough. Although I never sweat so much in my life and this is coming from someone that did a 100k ultra marathon on foot last year HAHA!

Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
The locked beads would to me at least hint that the wheels are themselves tubeless-ready.

edit: checked the Trek site, and yes, the OEM wheels are tubeless-ready.
Trek is too confusing. I get answers at noon!
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Old 07-24-20, 09:13 AM
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Biking on and off since you were little and never had a flat? I would say you are one of the luckiest people that ever rode a bicycle. I won't get into the whole tube/tubeless debate but whatever you do, I would strongly suggest you learn how to get whatever you have re-inflated if you plan to ride anywhere far from home and don't always have someone to call to come get you. If you have what you need (it all fits in a small saddlebag or jersey pocket), fixing a flat is a minor inconvenience that will pause your ride for 10-15 minutes.
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Old 07-24-20, 09:46 AM
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Getting indignant about a flat is about as useful as getting annoyed about the weather. Flats happen. You either learn how to fix them (it ain't rocket science, I've been fixing my own flats since I was about 8 years old) or you ride knowing that at any point you may face a long walk or a need to call someone to pick you up.

I have no experience with tubeless, since the frequency with which I experience flats (from less than 1 to maybe 3 per year) has not caused me to look into them and I'm used to dealing with tubes.

There are a couple of things you can do to reduce the likelihood of flats: avoid potholes and large rocks or other debris that might cause a snakebite flat (tube is pinched between tire and rim, rather than punctured); avoid riding in the sand that gets washed to the side of the road by rain (little bits of glass and/or wire from car tire belts can get washed there too); avoid riding through the triangle of road debris that forms at intersections between the paths that straight and right turning cars take. You can also look into flat resistant tires, tire liners, puncture resistant tubes, tires with thicker tread, etc. There are trade-offs, of course: flat resistant tires/tubes, tire liners etc. all cost money, add weight and (in some cases) complexity, and may affect the ride (generally making the tire stiffer and making the ride less plush/smooth), though many people are not bothered by this

IMHO, anyone who rides out without the means, ability and willingness to fix a flat deserves what they get. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but as stated above flats are not an unforeseeable occurrence. If you choose to ride a bike any distance beyond just around the neighborhood you should be ready to deal with them. For tires with tubes, you should at least carry a patch kit and a means to inflate the tire (pump or CO2 - I have no experience with CO2, pumps work fine for me). Most of us carry a spare tube as it is easier and faster to switch out a tube than to patch it - the patch kit is for multiple flats (usually caused by not identifying and removing the object that caused the first flat). Most of us carry at least one tire lever (I carry 3 because that's how they came and the extra space taken by a 3rd lever is negligible), many tire/rim combos are tight enough that you will have a lot of trouble getting the bead off the rim without a lever or two. Personally, I also carry a multi-tool in case I need to make other minor repairs on the road. Others carry other items (spare link for chain; extra spoke(s), etc.). All of this equipment fits easily into a under-the-saddle bag, in a jersey pocket or in a bottle that can fit into a water bottle cage.
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Old 07-24-20, 10:09 AM
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It seems that tubeless tires can be particularly hard to remove and put on.

It's an issue many people seem to first learn when they have a flat on a group ride when it takes them an hour to fix it.

I'm not sure if tubeless has a strong advantage for road riding.
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Old 07-24-20, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
I'm not sure if tubeless has a strong advantage for road riding.
Yup, other than instantly sealing about 95% of my punctures, there's not much else going for it.
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Old 07-24-20, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by mikecart1 View Post
I gotta do this once myself at home. If I want to go ride on trails for 20-30 miles away from home, I can't be having this happen again with some type of backup plan. Luckily yesterday it was a nice 100F and all I got was sun-burned and dehydrated LOL! I am kind of new to the whole modern 'expensive' bike lifestyle. I had a Giant mountain bike in college and I rode that thing over 4 years on grass, gravel, streets, curbs, rocks, etc. and never had a flat. It will be interesting to see if there is a tube in there. If not, then why is it bone dry on the inside with no sealant.


Might try all 3 LOL! Sad that they advertise the GR1 as the best thing on Trek's website. Watched some YouTube videos of others with Checkpoints and they all replace the tires before riding. I must be last to know LOL.


Looks like it. I got a $1700 bike on POS tires LOL!


Haha close to home. I guess I didn't die. So it was close enough. Although I never sweat so much in my life and this is coming from someone that did a 100k ultra marathon on foot last year HAHA!


Trek is too confusing. I get answers at noon!
The GR1 is Trek's cheapest gravel tire and performs as such. Even on nice tires, flats happen. You need to carry a repair kit and learn to fix a flat or, be prepared to call someone to get you. Fixing a flat is not that hard though,
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Old 07-24-20, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Ogsarg View Post
Biking on and off since you were little and never had a flat? I would say you are one of the luckiest people that ever rode a bicycle. I won't get into the whole tube/tubeless debate but whatever you do, I would strongly suggest you learn how to get whatever you have re-inflated if you plan to ride anywhere far from home and don't always have someone to call to come get you. If you have what you need (it all fits in a small saddlebag or jersey pocket), fixing a flat is a minor inconvenience that will pause your ride for 10-15 minutes.
Haha I guess I'm pretty lucky. Only had 1 flat ever on cars and I probably have 250,000 miles on that alone lol.

Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
Getting indignant about a flat is about as useful as getting annoyed about the weather. Flats happen. You either learn how to fix them (it ain't rocket science, I've been fixing my own flats since I was about 8 years old) or you ride knowing that at any point you may face a long walk or a need to call someone to pick you up.

I have no experience with tubeless, since the frequency with which I experience flats (from less than 1 to maybe 3 per year) has not caused me to look into them and I'm used to dealing with tubes.

There are a couple of things you can do to reduce the likelihood of flats: avoid potholes and large rocks or other debris that might cause a snakebite flat (tube is pinched between tire and rim, rather than punctured); avoid riding in the sand that gets washed to the side of the road by rain (little bits of glass and/or wire from car tire belts can get washed there too); avoid riding through the triangle of road debris that forms at intersections between the paths that straight and right turning cars take. You can also look into flat resistant tires, tire liners, puncture resistant tubes, tires with thicker tread, etc. There are trade-offs, of course: flat resistant tires/tubes, tire liners etc. all cost money, add weight and (in some cases) complexity, and may affect the ride (generally making the tire stiffer and making the ride less plush/smooth), though many people are not bothered by this

IMHO, anyone who rides out without the means, ability and willingness to fix a flat deserves what they get. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but as stated above flats are not an unforeseeable occurrence. If you choose to ride a bike any distance beyond just around the neighborhood you should be ready to deal with them. For tires with tubes, you should at least carry a patch kit and a means to inflate the tire (pump or CO2 - I have no experience with CO2, pumps work fine for me). Most of us carry a spare tube as it is easier and faster to switch out a tube than to patch it - the patch kit is for multiple flats (usually caused by not identifying and removing the object that caused the first flat). Most of us carry at least one tire lever (I carry 3 because that's how they came and the extra space taken by a 3rd lever is negligible), many tire/rim combos are tight enough that you will have a lot of trouble getting the bead off the rim without a lever or two. Personally, I also carry a multi-tool in case I need to make other minor repairs on the road. Others carry other items (spare link for chain; extra spoke(s), etc.). All of this equipment fits easily into a under-the-saddle bag, in a jersey pocket or in a bottle that can fit into a water bottle cage.
Good tips. No snowflake here. Time to learn how to replace a flat haha!

Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
It seems that tubeless tires can be particularly hard to remove and put on.

It's an issue many people seem to first learn when they have a flat on a group ride when it takes them an hour to fix it.

I'm not sure if tubeless has a strong advantage for road riding.
Took the bike shop about 10 minutes haha.

Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Yup, other than instantly sealing about 95% of my punctures, there's not much else going for it.
Makes sense.

Originally Posted by yarbrough462 View Post
The GR1 is Trek's cheapest gravel tire and performs as such. Even on nice tires, flats happen. You need to carry a repair kit and learn to fix a flat or, be prepared to call someone to get you. Fixing a flat is not that hard though,
Found out it was the tube inside that popped. A single pine needle ruined my yesterday ride. Funny how these pine trees do nothing but drop acid on your cars and flatten bikes. The odds of hitting a pine needle on the road and it causing a flat are astronomical. Anyways, the bike shop gave me a replaced tube, a second spare tube in the box, and a full repair kit with tools and a saddle bag. Best shop ever. Didn't really give, but only spent about $50 on everything including the repair + dividend back (similar to what REI does). They did say my front tire was half flat too. They asked if I had a tire pump. I said no. They were like wtf. I was like "do I really need to fill the tires with air all the time?" They were like "yeahhhhh". Then I was like I will buy one today!

I either had the greatest tires ever on my older Giant Mountain bike. Never knew you had to pump air in your bike tires on a regular basis. The tire pressure was 25 psi on the fronts today. They were supposed to be 50....

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Old 07-24-20, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by mikecart1 View Post
Took the bike shop about 10 minutes haha.
Most people here ride far enough that going to a shop isn't convenient. haha (I guess?).

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-24-20 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 07-24-20, 02:27 PM
  #21  
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Did the shop show you how to change a tube? Patch a tube? There are a couple of tricks that make those processes easier. If you know someone who rides a lot, get them to show you. Or go to youtube, I suppose, though that isn't as good as having an actual person show you (I still remember my Dad teaching me when I was small, almost 50 years ago now - I remember he had one of those Schwinn flat kits that came in a cardboard tube - it had red lettering on it, as I recall). There are probably hundreds of videos on how to fix a flat.

Also, some shops have programs where they teach basic maintenance, fixing a flat is usually one of the first things they teach.

It's a good idea to practice a couple of times at home (no cheating by using your floor pump, use the equipment you'll have on the road).

Good luck.
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Old 07-24-20, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
Most people here ride far enough that going to a shop isn't convenient. haha (I guess?).
No the shop isn't biking distance. I had to put the bike in one of my cars.

Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
Did the shop show you how to change a tube? Patch a tube? There are a couple of tricks that make those processes easier. If you know someone who rides a lot, get them to show you. Or go to youtube, I suppose, though that isn't as good as having an actual person show you (I still remember my Dad teaching me when I was small, almost 50 years ago now - I remember he had one of those Schwinn flat kits that came in a cardboard tube - it had red lettering on it, as I recall). There are probably hundreds of videos on how to fix a flat.

Also, some shops have programs where they teach basic maintenance, fixing a flat is usually one of the first things they teach.

It's a good idea to practice a couple of times at home (no cheating by using your floor pump, use the equipment you'll have on the road).

Good luck.
No they didn't show me. I guess I could have watched but I don't want to be that guy haha. I feel like I make the person doing the work uncomfortable. I sat in a corner on the opposite side of the store LOL. I just never had a flat and only recently found out about tubes that are inside of tires and tubeless with sealant liquid. I've been watching those dream bike videos on YouTube. But I will watch more videos. When I left today I basically asked the lady if this was fixable out in the street. She was like yeah if you had a tire pump, tools, and a spare tube. I didn't have any of those things LOL! I told my parents and they said next time call Uber LOL!
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Old 07-24-20, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mikecart1 View Post
No the shop isn't biking distance. I had to put the bike in one of my cars.
Kinda the same thing. For most people here, that wouldn't work either.
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Old 07-24-20, 10:41 PM
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A pine needle caused a flat? That’s a first for me, didn’t think a pine needle would go through a tire, even a cheap one. Definitely need to upgrade your tires. Most importantly you need to learn how to change a flat out on the road. I can’t imagine going out and not having that skill, especially with a gravel bike where you may be miles from any any paved roads. Lean the skill and equip yourself with the right tools when you ride.
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Old 08-05-20, 02:38 PM
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I'm going to bet a pine needle didn't puncture your tire - unless it was made out of brass. Given that you don't have a pump, chances are you were running on low pressure and possibly pinch flatted it over a square-edged bump.

Learning how to fix a flat is a vital rite of passage for a cyclist. These days, I have a spare tube, a patch kit, and a CO2 canister in my saddle bag, and I routinely listen for leaks and bounce my tires at stoplights to confirm that I'm at adequate pressure.

As for pumping tires - almost anybody on this forum will suggest at least checking tire pressure with your thumb before every ride. I like my tire pressure in a consistent range, so I top up my tires before every ride. Some people even run latex tubes, which pretty much demand to be reinflated on a near daily basis. But even if you run standard tubes, slow leaks that take hours (or even days) to be noticeable are definitely a thing, and valves can get damaged, especially somewhat fragile presta valves. So always check.

Worst case, I think you can buy tires pretreated with Slime (a sealing compound), and you can even get plastic puncture strips to line the insides of your tires. Of course, all of that adds weight, rolling resistance, and ruins the ride, so might just be worth learning to fix your flats yourself. Besides - fixing your flat yourself = $4-8 for a tube, taking it to a shop is likely $15-20, so you win out in the long run.
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